Writing references for students

I am always happy to write references for past and present students. This includes some information to make the process easier for everyone


Students are often asked to provide references when they apply for jobs or for courses of further study. This can take the form of being asked to indicate one or more individuals who can be contacted in order to give their appreciation of the candidate or be in the form of a letter or other appreciation which has to be submitted with the application or separately.

As undergraduate and graduate students, your teachers are well-placed to give references and we are usually very happy to provide them. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are a past or current student of mine and need a reference.


The limiting factor for providing references is usually time. I need at least a week’s notice to write a reference, but if you can give me more time, that is all the better. It is generally a good idea to schedule your applications well in advance and to get in touch with your potential referees well ahead of the deadline.

What I need

The whole process will be streamlined if you can help me in a timely fashion with the following points.

Information about the process and job/course

Please make sure you provide me with all the details I will need:

  1. Information on the format for submission. Does the reference need to be submitted on a separate website? Emailed to someone in particular (provide the email address and the name and position of the person)? Sent as a paper copy (provide the postal address)? Any other specifics I need to know?
  2. Please give me as much information as possible about the job/course for which you are applying. What kind of a position are we talking about? What does the course teach and in which format? My reference will be much better if I can adapt my writing to the job/course you are aiming for.

Information about you

I can usually find the details about your academic record while you were my student in my notes. It does save me considerable time if you can provide me with any relevant details (the topic of your presentation, for example, particularly if a link can be made with your application). Similarly, if there is anything else I might mention (work experience? travel? why you are applying for this particular job/course?), please do not hesitate to send me the details.

Franziska Heimburger
Franziska Heimburger
Senior Lecturer in British History

My research interests include 19th and 20th century cultural history of military conflicts and language policy in military coalitions.